Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Devil's Knot

I've lived in Memphis most of my life and have always heard stories about the West Memphis Three. I was the same age as the victims when the murders occurred so my mother pretty much kept my 8-year-old self out of the loop on this one.
About 3 years ago, I read a story in the Memphis Flyer which peaked my interest in this crazy, insane witch trial. The article was one that ran in several publications across the country. You may remember it. A man on the cover in a white jumpsuit, dead eyes, pale skin. A death row inmate. His name is Damien Echols and he was sentenced to death for murdering three 8-year-old boys in 1993. He was only 18 years old.
After reading the Damien Echols interview, I had to learn more about this. I rented the HBO documentaries Paradise Lost and Paradise Lost 2. These movies started off as an unbiased look at this unusual case as it was unfolding. Even as unbiased as it was intended to be, anyone could see that there was no case against these three teenagers that were accused (Echols and two of his friends). There was no evidence that placed them at the scene of the crime. Hell, there was no evidence to suggest they had anything to do with it at all!
The author of this book, Mara Leveritt, was interviewed in this documentary and I went to buy her book the next day. It's filled with TONS of facts, notes, and details even the documentary didn't include. She was a Arkansas newspaper reporter at the time of the investigation and trials, but was convinced enough of the West Memphis Three's innocence that she was compelled to write this book.
I believe everyone should take a look at this one. You'll be so enraged by the time you finish it, that you may actually think about writing to the Arkansas governor like many other West Memphis Three supporters have already.


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